Built in 1970 and 1971 only, the Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda is the holy grail of Mopars. Not only that, but it’s also one of the holy grails of the golden muscle car era. And if recent auctions are any indication, the convertible version is among a handful of classic muscle cars that change hands for millions of dollars.
Why are these drop-tops so expensive? Well, not only do they look gorgeous and pack the iconic 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8, but they’re also incredibly rare. Of the 666 HEMI ‘Cudas sold in 1970, only 14 left the factory with a soft top.
Things get even wilder regarding the 1971 variant: Plymouth made only 114 HEMI ‘Cudas (for the US market), and just seven rolled off the assembly line in convertible layout.
Seven! That’s an important number. It’s exactly how many digits you must write on a check to buy one. Assuming you actually get the chance to purchase such a rare car. But exactly how much are we talking about?
Well, I know of only three such vehicles that crossed the auction block in recent years. One sold for $2.5 million in 2016, one found a new home for $3.8 million in 2014, and another failed to sell for a whopping $4.8 million in 2021.
Fast forward to 2023, and one of these holy-grail 1971 HEMI ‘Cuda Convertibles is up for grabs. Like most of its siblings that pop up for sale, it’s in tip-top condition following a comprehensive restoration. And the seller claims it’s the first 1971 HEMI drop-top ever built.
It’s also one of five cars fitted with an automatic transmission, and it’s safe to say that the color and the options make it a unique car.
Specifically, it’s finished in Sno White (with a matching grille) and features optional extras like the A36 Performance Axle Package, the R26 AM radio with microphone and cassette recorder (Dictaphone), and chrome exhaust tips.
It’s been refreshed twice since the early 2000s, and it has a numbers-matching drivetrain and 90% original sheet metal. It’s also a low-mileage example, with only 31,000 miles (49,890 km) on the odo.
The muscle car is being auctioned off on eBay, a strange choice for such an expensive gem, with bidding starting from $2.75 million. However, there are no bids as of this writing, and the “reserve not met” status suggests the seller may want more than $3 million to part ways with the ‘Cuda.
It isn’t the first time this drop-top has gone under the hammer. It was previously auctioned off in 2016 when it changed hands for $2.53 million. It has since been driven for 99 miles (159 km) and restored to showroom quality. Interestingly enough, it also gained black “HEMI” billboard decals.
Whether the car had them from the factory is unclear, but it’s a period-correct feature. How much do you think it is worth?